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While Shawnda laps up the sun in Mexico with a few amazing food bloggers this week, we’re doing a Wildcard Week for Project Pastry Queen.  Now, even though I’d much rather be in Mexico with Shawnda (hope you’re having fun, girl!!), I’m still really excited to share these Rocket Rolls with you because The Pastry Queen has outdone herself with this recipe.  With such a strange name, I thought for the longest time that they would be shaped like torpedo rolls and for that reason, I was nervous about making them.  Roll-shaping, after all, isn’t my specialty but as it turns out, you shape the dough into little boules (balls), place them on the sheet pan, and you’re done.  So simple!

And yet these Rocket Rolls are so unassuming!  Just by looking at them, I expected a pretty regular dinner roll but I underestimated this recipe entirely.  When you pull them apart…to you know, add some butter…it’s like you’re opening a cloud of soft warm goodness…the kind of goodness that feels like warm towels from the dryer on a cold winter’s morning.  Shawnda in fact likened them to the texture of Sunbeam bread but I’ll go ahead and say that while this is a close reference point, these rolls totally blow any store-bought bread out of the water.  There is no comparison!  I actually made these rolls in mid-December before we were supposed to post them in our blogs but Kyle and I loved them so much that we finished them before I could take any photos.  It’s such a shame that I’ve held off for so long sharing them with you but hey, I’m not complaining about having to make them again for some photos!

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Rocket Rolls
source: adapted from The Pastry Queenby Rebecca Rather 

If you don’t have or can’t find active dry yeast, you can easily use instant yeast in its place.  In doing so, you can skip the 5-minute step of waiting for the yeast-water mixture to become foamy.  Just combine the yeast and water then move right along with the recipe as written.

Ingredients:

  • 3 (1/4-ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 to 114 degrees F)
  • 1/4 cup light, flavorless vegetable oil, such as canola or safflower
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water (more as needed)
  • 6 1/2 cups high-gluten flour or bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing on the warm rolls

Instructions:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let sit about 5 minutes, until foamy.  Using a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast mixture, oil, egg, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the additional 1 cup of water and mix until combined. Add the flour and mix on medium-low speed until the dough holds together, about 5 minutes. (If it does not form a cohesive ball, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time until it does). Let the dough rest in the bowl for 20 minute. Add the salt and cinnamon and mix the dough on low speed for 1 minute. Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been lightly greased with oil. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats, or grease with a light coating with olive oil or cooking spray. Punch down the dough to remove the air. If the dough seems too sticky to work with, coat your hands with a little flour. Pinch off pieces and roll them into golf ball-sized rounds (for dinner rolls) or tennis ball-size rounds (for larger sandwich rolls). Arrange the dough rounds on the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Cover them with a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place about 20 minutes, until they become lighter and have the consistency of soft marshmallows. They will not double in bulk on the second rising.
  3. Bake the rolls for 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove them from the oven and brush with a light coating of olive oil.  You can also sprinkle them with a black pepper or seasoning mix of your choice, depending on what you’re serving them with.  Serve immediately or at room temperature.

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